And even more summer to enjoy. I try to remind myself to take things one day at a time. I hope you do, too.
Now, how about some summer food?
There are few things that bring me more joy than eating out of the garden. Eventually I want to grow a large percentage of our food, but until we get a bit more growing space, I'm content with growing what we do (and trying to maximize our space as much as we can).
Even if you don't garden, you can enjoy the delights of summer-fresh produce. Farmers markets, CSAs and even grocery stores with a local focus can provide you with local, delicious fruits and vegetables.
One of the best things about garden-fresh food is how simple it is to eat and enjoy. You can use complicated recipes if you feel like it, but summer-ripe produce doesn't need it. Easy, quick, delicious.
My absolute favorite summertime food? Tomatoes (Last year I wrote about them here and here).
Our tomatoes are slow (again) this year and we haven't had more than a few cherry tomatoes. Yet. But soon... I think simplest is best with summertime tomatoes and sometimes I'll cut them up, sprinkle them with a little bit of salt and call it a salad. If you want something a little more involved, add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and fresh mozzarella.
Want summer tomatoes during the winter? Roast them in the oven with a splash of olive oil, some salt and pepper. Put them in a low oven (between 200-300) and periodically check on them until they're done to your liking. It could take anywhere between an hour to a couple hours depending on how much liquid is in your tomatoes. I like to store the roasted tomatoes in the freezer. Use them in pasta sauce, as a pizza topping, in soup, in chili...
An even easier way to preserve your tomato harvest is to freeze your cherry tomatoes. Simply place tomatoes on a baking sheet in the freezer and once they're frozen transfer them to freezer container or bag. Use them for cooking (as above). They're especially good in sauces (I used them in a sauce I made for shrimp tacos this past winter and they were delicious).
Matthias' favorite way to eat tomatoes is as fresh salsa. We have a small food processor that we like to use. We fill it with tomatoes (cherry tomatoes from the grocery store in the winter), leaving a bit of space for some onion, an jalapeno pepper (use more or less depending on the hotness of the pepper and how hot you want your salsa to be) and generous amounts of cilantro and then process until well blended but still a bit chunky. Stir in salt to taste.
While we're talking about cilantro... fresh cilantro is delicious in salsa, but frozen works, too. This past winter we used frozen cilantro from the grocery store (it comes in a package with little cubes) and now that I have a glut of it in the garden, we've been freezing our own. Chop it up in the food processor, adding a bit of water to make a paste. Lots of people suggest freezing herb pastes in ice cube trays, but I spread my cilantro out in a thin layer and froze it as a sheet so I can simply break off pieces as I need them to whatever size I want. Perfect for one of my favorite soups (that blog post also has a great method for keeping fresh cilantro fresh in the fridge).
I shared a yummy recipe for garden salad in the summer edition of my newsletter that went out to subscribers yesterday. Not signed up yet? You can read more about my seasonal newsletter and subscribe here.
Looking for more food inspiration (perhaps with real recipes, measurements and all)? Here are some great resources for good eating:
- The public radio program The Splendid Table has an entire section on its website dedicated to summer recipes.
- The recipes on the food blog Smitten Kitchen are categorized in many ways, including seasonally. Find the summer recipes here.
- Find your local Edible Communities publication and whether you peruse their website or pick up the print magazine, you'll find lots of delicious inspiration. Our local magazine is Edible Madison and on their website there's a "What's in season" section. Here's July. Cool no?
- If you want many, many recipes, check out the New York Times' cooking website, searching for "summer" brings up more recipes than you could imagine and the site has many options for narrowing down so you can find just what you're looking for. Want grilling or barbecue recipes? No problem, there's a section for that, too.
- The Forest Feast is a beautiful food blog filled with delicious, seasonal recipes. The recipes aren't organized by season, but the Archive lets you look at the recipes in date order, making it quick to find lots of inspiration.
- The blog The Kitchn is filled with oodles of recipes and although they're not organized by season, doing a search for "summer" narrows things down a bit. There are lots of other ways to browse, too.
- If you're looking for drink recipes, go take a look at Holly & Flora. Jayme is a sommelier and a girl after my own heart, growing lots of yummy produce in her Colorado backyard. She shares her experiments in preserving as well as her amazing cocktail recipes on her blog. Don't miss her recipe for wine-y popsicles using rosé, juices and fresh strawberries. (She's also fun to follow on Instagram).
- Do you love kale? Even if you think you don't, you might want to try this recipe. I found it when I was searching for more kale recipes and it was very tasty. I substituted artichoke hearts for cucumbers because I had one and not the other. The dressing, made with fresh parsley, garlic and lemon juice was perfect.
- If you're looking for things to do with your garden-fresh produce (either home-grown or from a CSA or farmers market), take a look at the Kitchen Garden Seeds recipe list. I always like perusing their catalog when shopping for seeds because scattered throughout the seed descriptions are recipes for those varieties.
- Another great resource for gardener cooks is the blog A Way to Garden written by Margaret Roach. There is an entire section of recipes, including many about preserving your harvest.
- You might also like to take a look at Ashley English's blog Small Measure. Here are all the posts tagged "recipe".
- Finally, take a look at the recipe list on the food blog Sprouted Kitchen. Lots of delicious inspiration with a focus on whole foods.
Oh, and don't miss Simone's Savor Summer food post it's all about scented sugars!
What about you? How do you like to eat and cook in the summer? Are you a recipe follower? Do you have favorite sources of inspiration?